I wrote this story 8 years ago. At the time, I felt a bit old to be writing something about teenagers, but I used to be one, so why not? I’ve submitted it to a few outlets over the years, with no success – persevere, and all that – but I had another look at it recently and thought about updating it. The story is told by a narrator who is 19 at the time I wrote the story (2009). This is obvious from the dates on the obituary, I thought about changing these dates, so the story is being narrated in 2017, but realised that this would make Arthur’s (and the narrator’s) date of birth 1998: I was 27 in 1998. I think on balance it’s time to stop submitting this particular story. Feel free to have a read of it here:
He looks out over the city. The room looks out on the alley that runs along the side of the hotel. On the horizon, there are trees and the scaffolding around the side of a collapsed gas tank. The cathedral is somewhere in this direction, but he can’t see it. Closer to, he can see lines and corners of the shops and offices a couple of streets along. Immediately across is a pink building with an uneven roof. The aerial on the chimney is silhouetted against the ten o’clock sky. On the first floor, a pair of brown and orange curtains are parted to reveal a blue bedstead. On the ground floor a single-storey extension has a blue skylight.
To the left is a small office block. The blinds are up and he can see the desk-dividers, PCs and motivational posters that litter modern offices. One of the PCs is still on. Someone sits there. A young woman – perhaps not: it’s difficult to judge with her back to the window. Working late?
I wrote this a while back, after spending a few days in a hotel in Norwich. I spent a certain amount of time staring out of the window, which was at the back of the building and so had some interesting views into the surrounding buildings. I’m not the first person to notice that urban buildings are more interesting above street-level and side streets are more interesting than high streets. Equally, the back a of buildings can often be more interesting than the front and one of the nice things about holidaying in a city is taking the chance to watch people going about their business.
This piece is my memory of the view from the hotel room, written after I got home. I don’t imagine I’ll do anything with it.